Note from the Editor

Alma Hromic is in New Zealand on a Book Tour for her latest novel, Changer of Days: The Oracle, but she sent a poem she wrote in 1995 when her fellow Serbs were being violently expelled from their ancestral land. It is as pertinent and telling today, in our age of perpetual war, as it was then. She also passed on a quick piece she taptapped on her machine, demonstrating with humor that Kafka is alive and well. He was last spotted in Florida! Deck Deckert, a former journalist and copy editor, presents a somber view of today's corporate-controlled media. In his estimation, the last casualty of war may well be democracy.

Otherwise, this rendition focuses on the answer to one "simple" question, "What would you do if you were in charge?" Gilles d'Aymery's editorial explains how and why this challenging question came to be asked in the first place. You know there are other options beside war, other alternatives beside perpetual destruction, and you won't be excessively surprised to find out that Swans' contributors, in their wide diversity, have their own ideas, from very concrete actions to the examination of the possible.

Oh, just to remind people who consider that having a dissenting or a different opinion is somehow an expression of un-patriotism, we are re-publishing the famous text by Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience! To wit the current civil hysteria calls for a healthy antidote, does it not?

Please form your own opinion and let your friends (and foes) know about Swans. It's your voice that makes ours grow.


Editorial: On My Mind

Gilles d'Aymery:  What Would You do if You Were in Charge?

More families of the 9-11 victims are speaking out in opposition to the military strikes against Afghanistan, like the parents of Gregory Rodriguez...   More...

Gilles d'Aymery is Swans' publisher and co-editor.



Alma A. Hromic:  Casualties Of War

A flag
in conquered soil planted.
People leaving,
streaming from ancient homes with nothing
but a blanket-wrapped bundle and a baby in their arms.   More...

Alma Hromic is an acclaimed novelist and a poet who was born in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia. She is the co-author with R. A. Deckert of Letters from the Fire


What would you do?

Michael W. Stowell:  Sparrow

I'm sitting, thinking about what to write and where to begin, here on the third and top floor of the Humboldt State University library; in a study booth next to a sunny window, staring at a blank piece of paper. THUMP! There is a sparrow...   More...

Michael W. Stowell is chairperson of the City of Arcata Nuclear Weapons Free Zone Commission, Humboldt County, CA.



Deck Deckert:  10 Years to Peace

Back in the days of bulletin boards, the forerunners of AOL chat rooms and Internet discussion groups, someone I'd been debating wanted to nominate me for president so that I could straighten out the country.

Faced with countless charges of arrogance and selfishness from the international community...   More...

A former copy, wire and news editor, Deck Deckert is a freelance writer. He is the author, with Alma Hromic of Letters from the Fire.



Stephen Gowans:  I'm Against Terrorism.
Now, If Only We Could Get Washington On Side

The meanings of some perfectly good words have been distorted through frequent abuse by politicians, journalists and other propagandists. One such word is "radical," which has come to mean "extremist" (itself a distortion, now denoting anyone who rejects the dominant ideology of the day) or someone...   More...

Stephen Gowans is a writer and political activist who lives in Ottawa, Canada.



Milo Clark:  Analyze the Predicament, Then Come With an Answer (a four-part essay)

Preface: Bingo! Simplicity Itself; Oligarchy

Ten years ago now, Mortimer J. Adler published Haves Without Have-nots, Essays for the 21st Century on Democracy and Socialism. I was so taken with this book that I went out and bought up all the copies I could find. I wanted...   More...

Back to Basics on the Way to Going Ahead

With hysteria being manufactured faster than deficit spending, I probably need to make very clear that I abhor violence of any kind, especially random violences, those for which there is no protection other than chance.   More...

The Presidential Speech

Preparing for the big speech
I was sitting on a silly seat in that Florida classroom when I learned about the tragedies. [...]

The speech
"My fellow Americans and those of the world audience who are with us tonight...   More...

Afterword: Function of Failures

My analyses, critiques and comments are a function of failures. Failures mirroring personal and societal inability to learn. And it is only those failures...   More...

Milo Clark is a Swans' founding member, advisor and columnist.



Jeff Lindemyer:  Suggestions for Concrete Actions

The question: Jeff, you are a young man. In that, you are the future. So tell me and tell Swans' readers how YOU would react to the Sept 11 events. Think about it. What would you do? Concretly, what would you do?

My answer: Gilles, I am sure that you are asking...   More...

Jeff Lindemyer is a student at UC Berkeley, California, who is currently in Minnesota where he works as an intern for US Senator Paul Wellstone.



Philip Greenspan:  Change the Education Paradigm

If I were in charge in the wake of the 9/11 calamity I would enact numerous changes in policy. Some would drastically choke off the funding of terrorists around the world. Others would bring to justice the criminals who are guilty of unjustifiable acts...   More...

Philip Greenspan is a retired attorney and a World War II veteran.



Andreas Toupadakis:  Wisdom and Compassion Need to Become Action

After the 9/11 events, many people suddenly became fervent authors and speakers about what other people should do. Politicians, militants, priests, peace activists, scientists, security experts, ordinary humans, they are all trying to make a statement for peace. I have been doing the same thing as I type this article.   More...

A former nuclear scientist, Dr. Andreas Toupadakis is a professor and lecturer on peace and environmental issues at many universities and colleges.


Media Manipulation and Disinformation

Deck Deckert:  The Media Marches off to War

The sight of a TV newsman reporting on America's newest war while he shares the screen with a pretty graphic slogan proclaiming "America Strikes Back" is enough to make me gag. The once proud news profession valued its honesty, integrity and objectivity and...   More...

A former copy, wire and news editor, Deck Deckert is a freelance writer. He is the author, with Alma Hromic of Letters from the Fire.


Humor: Kafka is alive and well, thank you.

Alma A. Hromic:  A Day in Kafka Land

so we had harper collins NZ ship us a bunch of copies of letters from the fire. they took our order and i eventually got an email saying that they should have been in NYC freight handling facilities in early september, from whence they would be "delivered to your home address." the freight charges were $190.   More...

Alma Hromic is an acclaimed novelist and a poet who was born in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia. She is the co-author with R. A. Deckert of Letters from the Fire


Patriotic Dissent

Henry David Thoreau:  Civil Disobedience (1849)

I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least;" and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe - "That government is best which governs not at all;"   More...

Henry David Thoreau [1817-62] was a writer, a philosopher and a naturalist.



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Created: October 27, 2001